Will Livestock Exporters Release Unedited Footage?

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RSPCA Australia has called for the immediate public release of unedited footage taken of conditions onboard the livestock carrier Maysora last week.

The filming was undertaken in response to whistle-blower footage released on the 60 Minutes program over a week ago showing a voyage where thousands of sheep died of heat stress on the Awassi Express on their way to the Middle East for Emanuel Exports.

RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones said, “Given the industry’s claims of improved transparency, there should be no reason not to release that raw and unedited footage immediately.”

She says that whether or not the Australian public believe the conditions are acceptable should be put to the test – “Remembering this is just the start of the journey, before the overcrowding, heat and humidity cause conditions to deteriorate over the three to four week voyage.”

In response to the whistle-blower footage, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources also placed a departmental observer on the Maysora – a converted car carrier like the Awassi Express. The RSPCA is also calling for the release of the images, footage and notes being collected daily by the observer to show how conditions change throughout the journey.

The call for the release of the footage comes as the Al Messilah arrives in Fremantle. She is the first ship operated by Emanuel Exports to arrive into the port since the footage of the conditions onboard the Awassi Express was released.

The destination for any live sheep from Australia is now also in question, says Jones, after even more footage was released this week showing terrified sheep outside an abattoir desperately trying to escape workers who were hitting them with large sticks and violently picking up and throwing them around. Qatar is the second largest market for Australian sheep, taking 640,000 head (32.8 percent of exported sheep) – many of which would likely have been sent to the abattoir.

“Once again, this shows why farmers can’t rely on live exports,” said Jones. “Trying to regulate this cruel trade is impossible; there’s always another disaster just around the corner.

“While we’ve seen far t

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